Warty pigs in Indonesia
Saving the rarest pig on Earth
On the tiny volcanic island of Bawean lives a species of warty pig thought to have disappeared until recently. Our challenge now is to protect this unique pig from the brink of extinction.
Java is amongst the most populated islands in the world; it holds only 7% of the land area of Indonesia, but 67% of the human population.
The landscape of Bawean, off the coast of Java, is being rapidly altered. Forest cover has been reduced to 10% due to habitat destruction, modification to agricultural land and teak plantations. This has forced the pigs to forage outside their forest home where they are then seen as a pest and killed.
Warty pigs are not protected by Indonesian law and their survival relies on the goodwill of the local people not to persecute them.
So little is known about the pig that it can be difficult to know how to boost their numbers and protect them.
Our funded project is the first ever conservation and research study about endangered Bawean warty pigs.
In order to put conservation measures in place we are firstly setting up camera traps and collecting as much detail as possible about their lifestyle and habits. Combined with this we are conducting interviews with local residents to assess people’s perception of the species based on social, political, religious and economic factors.
From the camera traps in crop-raiding sites we will be able to assess the characteristics of the pigs’ crop-raiding in order to develop pig- and farmer-friendly solutions.
Finally, the project will perform awareness and education activities in the local communities.
In order to achieve long-term success for all parties concerned, we will train several local guides and an Indonesian student, and distribute our results to governmental authorities, science, practitioners (e.g. rescue centres) and the public. Together we will strike a balance that could prevent the Bawean pig being lost forever.
(Image above by Simen Blokland)
- The team have captured 100 videos of Bawean warty pigs- and none of European wild pig that is a threat to the local species- which is great news.
- The videos have caught Bawean warty pigs in many different situations: feeding, travelling, socialising, even fighting. A couple of videos showed females with very small piglets, indicating that the birth season may be around March and April.
- 50 local people have been interviewed about their view on the pigs, and many are happy to work together with us in the near future.
- Stickers and an information leaflet have been distributed to islanders and school children to tell them about their endemic and very special nature and the work we are doing.
- Read the full project report here full project report here
You can see a video of the team’s work below: